Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Baked Crab Rangoon

These little morsels are soooo wonderful ... soooo delightful ... and I think I soooo need to go make some right now.  These really are an EASY appetizer.  The filling can be made ahead and just baked up last minute. 

We like these served with the sauce on the side.  I had these at a restaurant and they put the sweet chili sauce on the plate and placed the rangoons in the sauce.  It was a pretty presentation but they do get a little soggy if they aren't eaten right away.  Who am I kidding, I should serve them like that because they never last 5 minutes.

Baked Crab Rangoon

1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
30-35 wonton wrappers
2 green onion, both white & green part
10 oz crab meat
8 oz cream cheese

Combine the cream cheese, garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl until smooth.  Stir in crab and onion.

Open wontons but keep under a damp cloth and just take out a few at a time. Place 2 teaspoonfuls in the center of each wonton wrapper.  Using your fingertip, moisten edges with water; bring corners to center over filling and press edges together to seal.

Place on a baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray.  Lightly spray wontons with nonstick cooking spray.

Bake at 425 °F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with sweet chili sauce. 


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Strawberries & Cream Bread (or Blueberry)

Strawberries are starting to show up in the grocery stores again, which reminds me that Spring is right around the corner.    Fresh fruits and veggies are on their way to the table again.  

This bread is light, fresh, and has a fruity flavor that is fantastic along or works great on a platter with a variety of breads.  It's a great way to use those strawberries up that are a little past the "pretty" stage.  

It can be left plain, sprinkled with powdered sugar, or dressed up with a glaze and topped with chunky sugar.

Strawberries & Cream Bread (or Blueberry)

1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream (I use fat free)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup strawberries, fresh & chopped (don't use frozen)
3/4 cup walnuts, almonds, or pecans (optional, but so good)
Powdered sugar

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, set aside.  In small bowl, beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sugars, mix 1 minute.   Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Then beat in sour cream and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture only until moistened.  Fold in berries & nuts.

Pour into a greased 8x4 loaf pan or three small loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 60-65 min for large loaf, or 25-30 minutes for small loaves, or until toothpick is clean. Let stand 10 min. Turn out on rack and cool. 

Can top with a glaze made with powdered sugar, water, and a little flavoring.  

~ Enjoy 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cinnamon Infused Sugar

This is a very intense chunky sugar with a kick of cinnamon!!!  It is so good sprinkled on top of muffins before baking, hot cereal, toast, snickerdoodles, ... pretty much EVERYTHING!!

Cinnamon Infused Sugar

5 Tbsp. raw sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. water

Put everything in a bowl and mix very good using a fork, working the cinnamon in. It will be a little damp. Spread out on a small cookie sheet or platter to dry.

Stir every so often until good and dry. Store in a shaker with large holes,

or a sugar bowl.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Banana Cinnamon Doughnuts w/ Cinnamon Glaze

My little grandson is here for a few days and he LOVES Doughnuts.  The fun thing about being a grandma is giving him anything he wants, within reason of course.  When I asked him what he wanted for breakfast, he did not say hot cereal or eggs, no his answer was, DOUGHNUTS!!  And that's what he got....

I love my doughnut pans.  Large or small they make a treat just that much more fun.  These Banana Cinnamon Doughnuts are baked, moist, packed with flavor, and got the seal of approval by my grandson!!

They mix up very fast.  It's a great way to use up some of those overripe bananas.  I used mini cinnamon chips, which I got at a Gygi's, a kitchen supply store, but regular-sized chips work just as well.  Just give them a rough chop to distribute the flavor more evenly.

An easy way to fill the doughnut pan is to put a gallon-sized Ziploc bag in a pitcher and fill it with the batter.  

Then cut off a corner, large enough for the chips to fit through,

 and fill about 3/4 way through.

After they are done baking, take them out of the pans and let them cool about 10 minutes before you dunk the tops into this WONDERFUL CINNAMON-Y Glaze.  I think I'm on a cinnamon kick lately ... it's soooo comforting!!

The glaze comes from the cookbook, "Hand-Forged Doughnuts".

It has unflavored gelatin in it as well as some corn syrup. 

It sets up just like the store-bought doughnuts.

 I just added some cinnamon to the powdered sugar to add a little more cinnamon-ness!!
Just add sprinkles right after they are dipped ... or coconut, sliced almonds, chopped pecans, ....

Banana Cinnamon Doughnuts 

1-1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
3 mashed bananas
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup mini cinnamon chips 
(if using regular-sized chips, give them a rough chop)

Preheat oven to 350° and spray two 6 count doughnut pans with spray. In bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a mixer bowl combine sugar, eggs, bananas, vanilla, and oil. Mix well until smooth.  Add dry ingredients and stir to combine. Fold in cinnamon chips. Put mixture in a large Ziploc bag and snip off corner (big enough for cinnamon chips to go through). Fill doughnut pan 3/4 full and bake for about 15 min. (11 for mini). Invert on a rack and let cool about 10 minutes.  Dip in cinnamon glaze.

Top Pot's Vanilla Doughnut Glaze

2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1-1/2 tsp. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. powdered gelatin
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp. water

Place powdered sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla in mixing bowl. In a saucepan, whisk the 1 Tbsp. sugar, powdered gelatin, and water together. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and simmer for 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the syrup to the powdered sugar mixture. Whisk together until smooth. Dip one side of doughnut and let dry for 10 min.  For Cinnamon Glaze - Add 1/2 t. with powdered sugar.

An impressive presentation .... with little effort!!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Best Ever Cinnamon Rice Krispie Treats

It seems silly to post a recipe for Rice Krispie Treats ... BUT ... I've done some research and have found a recipe that because of a few steps, they come out perfect and stay soft for a few days after!!  I've always melted my marshmallows in the microwave but these turn out so much better and the marshmallows aren't so sticky.

This calls for the 1 lb. bag of marshmallows with 12 cups of cereal.  This will fill a 9x13 cake pan clear to the top.

The trick is this, use a sauce pan and over medium-low heat melt the butter completely first, then add the marshmallows and slowly melt those completely, stirring as you go.  When the marshmallows are completely melted DON'T STOP cooking, let it go another 2 minutes.  You will end up with a thin syrup-like texture that stirs in so nice with the cereal.

Rice Krispie treats are great but if you want to take them over the top, add 1 tsp. of cinnamon with the marshmallows.  These taste like a Churro!!  So Good!  You can even dress them up by melting cinnamon chips and white chocolate and drizzle on top.

I think I need to try Coconut flavored - Add coconut extract in with the marshmallows and along with toasted coconut in with the cereal and sprinkled on top.  How can that not be wonderful?

Best Ever Cinnamon Rice Krispie Treats

12 c. Rice Krispies®
1/2 c butter
1 lb miniature marshmallows
1 tsp heaping cinnamon

Measure out cereal in large bowl. Butter 9x13 pan or line with foil then butter. In saucepan, over med-low heat, melt butter completely and slowly. Add marshmallows and cinnamon and melt completely, slowly. Continue cooking for 2 min. Add to cereal in bowl and stir until combined. Press into prepared pan and let cool to set up. Cut and enjoy.

If you want plain treats, just omit the cinnamon but cook the same way.

It's fun to watch people eat these.  They take a bite and usually follow it with, "Ooo that is wonderful". I'm telling you ... it's the Cinnamon!!

I teach piano lessons and for my treat last Christmas, I made Cinnamon Rice Krispie Treat Suckers dipped in white chocolate with sprinkles.   After they set up, I just cut into long pieces, put in the sucker stick, then take the stick out and dip the end in some of the white chocolate, then put it back in.  This helped hold the stick in place.  You can use an upside down box with holes poked in it to help hold the suckers while the chocolate hardened.

Put a long bag on them with a cute ribbon and done!!  They were easy to make and the kids loved them.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Crispy Parmesan Crusted Filet of Fish

This dish is a no fuss, quick meal that is both flavorful, healthy, and looks great.  Tonight I used halibut but usually make this with Tilapia, which I love.  At Costco, they sell the Tilapia Loins, which are frozen, thick, and a staple in our home.  I've used this recipe as a stand alone main dish tonight, but it's great served as fish tacos with tangy yogurt sauce, cabbage, lime, & cilantro, or on a whole wheat bun with tartar sauce and lettuce.  I really could have fish 3-4 nights a week, and it's so quick to prepare.

Set up a breading station with three bowls.  You will get a thicker breading that stays on wonderfully if you dredge the fish in the flour mixture first, then the beaten eggs, then the panko crumbs.  Make sure you take the time and completely cover the piece of fish at each station.

Any Italian Panko crumbs will work.  I found these at Sam's Club or Costco, sorry I can't remember which.  The flavor was really good.  If you don't have Italian style panko, you could use regular and just add some garlic powder and Italian seasoning to the panko crumbs bowl.  The original recipe came from Rachael Ray.  She used bread crumbs, but I like the crispy texture of the Panko.

Make sure you preheat your grill pan (saute pan works too).  The panko will crisp better if the pan and oil are hot.

The cooking time depends on the thickness of the fish.  A thick piece of halibut takes about 6-7 min. on each side, where a thinner tilapia is about 4-5 minutes on each side.  I cook the first side a little longer until the crust is good and golden brown.  Then flip and cook until a fork goes through the fish without any resistence.  The good thing about fish is it cooks fast ... the bad thing about fish is, it gets dry if it's overcooked.  After 4 minutes on second side, start checking with the fork.  

This was really crispy and went really good with a side of oven-roasted asparagus and a side salad.  

Crispy Parmesan Crusted Filet of Fish

1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. old bay seasoning blend
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 - 6 oz. tilapia, halibut, or other white fish
2 cups Italian Panko crumbs
3/4 cup parmesan cheese

Create a breading station.  In bowl #1 - put flour & seasoning, bowl #2 - the beaten eggs, bowl #3 - panko crumbs & cheese. Heat grill pan on Med-High.  Dredge fish in flour, then in egg, then in panko crumbs.  Fry in olive oil, a few at a time. Don't crowd the pan. If you are cooking more than one pan, keep the cooked fillets warm in a warm oven on a rack inside a cookie sheet.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Raspberry Honey Butter & Cinnamon Honey Butter

If you want to send your homemade bread and rolls over the top -- then top them with Raspberry Honey Butter or Cinnamon Honey Butter.  I find myself having one more roll just for the butters alone.

The base is the same for both.  Softened butter mixed with CREAMED honey.  This is a thicker, absolutely heavenly, honey.  You can find it in any grocery store.

Also added to the base is one of MY FAVORITE THINGS!! Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste!! 
This is a thick, wonderful vanilla flavored paste.   It's more expensive than regular vanilla, because of it's awesomeness, so I don't cook with it, just add it to finish a sauce or dish.  
To the Raspberry Honey Butter, you add raspberry jam.  When I made this, I wanted a little more raspberry flavor.  If I added more jam, it thinned the end product too much.  So, I needed raspberry flavor in a powder form.  By taking freeze-dried raspberries and processing them in a food processor, you get a wonderful powder that adds that flavor burst!!!

I have found freeze-dried raspberries at grocery stores.  Trader Joe's also carries a line of them.

Process the freeze-dried raspberries and put in a strainer to separate the powder from the seeds.  With the back of a spoon press and stir to get all the powder out.

Raspberry Honey Butter

1/2 c. room temperature butter
1/2 c. creamed honey
1/4 c. raspberry jam
1 T. raspberry powder, optional  **(from dried raspberries)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

In a mixer bowl, beat butter until soft. Add all other ingredients and whip together for 3-4 minutes, scrapping sides as you go. Put in a smaller container and chill in fridge to set up for a bit.

**Raspberry Pwd - In food processor, put dried raspberries and process until powder. Put through a small strainer to separate seeds from powder. This adds great raspberry flavor without adding more liquid. This step can be skipped but the raspberry flavor won't be as strong.

This freezes very good.  A half-pint jar of Raspberry Honey Butter and/or Cinnamon Honey Butter in a basket of homemade rolls is a great gift.

For the Cinnamon Honey Butter you add cinnamon to the base.  This is like a Cinnamon Roll spread!!  

It's that good! Imagine this butter melting over a piece of whole wheat toast or fresh baked roll.

Cinnamon Honey Butter

1/2 c. room temperature butter
1/2 c. creamed honey (the white honey)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

In a mixer bowl, beat butter until soft. Add all other ingredients and whip together for 3-4 minutes, scrapping sides as you go. Put in a smaller container and chill in fridge to set up for a bit.

Once you make this it will be a staple in your home.  But, be warned ... you will eat more bread. :)


Monday, March 3, 2014

Brown Mushroom Sauce

This sauce is fantastic.  I love the depth of the mushrooms with the sauce flavored with A-1.  It adds a great touch to a perfectly medium-rare steak.

Brown Mushroom Sauce

2 lg. portabello mushrooms (clean gills by scraping out with a spoon)
 or 2 c. sliced baby portabello or cremini mushrooms
1 t. minced garlic
3/4 c. beef broth
2 tbs steak sauce (I like A-1)
2 tsp cornstarch

Slice mushrooms and saute with olive oil and garlic until slightly browned. In a separate bowl, mix broth, cornstarch and steak sauce. Add to mushrooms and cook until thick. Serve over BBQ steak.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

THE Whole Wheat Bread

The thought of making homemade bread for my family makes me happy.  To find a recipe that could be made without much effort and perfect every time would be ideal.  That's all :).  So ...  the search began........

One day on "Pinterest" (a great source), I found this bread recipe where she claimed it was wonderful and stayed soft for days after.  I thought I'd give it a try.

The trick for me when baking bread, is getting the right amount of flour.  King Arthur Flour recommends the best way to measure flour is to weigh it.  Their recommendation is 1 c. flour = 4 oz.  If you measure the flour, there is no more guess work  ...  just weight and let the scale tell you when that's enough flour.  It's been successful every time.

 If you grind your own flour, 4 1/4 c. wheat kernels in my Nutrimill Wheat Grinder was the right amount.

Adding 1 Tbsp. of Dough Enhancer will help homemade wheat breads texture lighter and softer.  A lot of stores are now carrying Vital Wheat Gluten and Dough Enhancer, which is nice.

I LOVE the USA loaf pans!!  Bread cooks evenly and comes out without any problems.

When you put the dough into the bread pans, squish the dough softly into the corners of your bread loaf pans. This will make your bread cook more evenly and give you a perfect shaped loaf.

With these few changes, I have finally found a bread recipe that is "Easy" and "Perfect Every Time"!!

THE Whole Wheat Bread

3-1/2 c. (15.75oz) whole wheat flour (4-1/4 c. wheat kernels ground)
1/3 c. wheat gluten
1-1/4 tbs instant yeast
1 tbs dough enhancer
2-1/2 c. hot water (120-130°)
1 tbs salt
1/3 c. oil
1/3 c. honey
1-1/4 tbs lemon juice
2-1/2 c. (12oz) whole wheat flour

Mix together the 15.75 oz. of WW flour, wheat gluten, yeast, and dough enhancer in your mixer with a dough hook. Add water all at once and mix for 1 minute; cover and let rest for 10 minutes (this is called sponging). Add oil, honey, and lemon juice and 12 oz. flour.  Let this start mixing a little then add the salt.  Knead for about 8 minutes (for a Bosch mixer, I use #1 setting) until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. This makes very soft dough.

Pre-heat oven for 1 minute to lukewarm and turn off. Turning the oven light on will also add some warmth.  Turn dough onto oiled counter top; divide, shape into loaves place in sprayed bread pans. Press dough flat into the pans.  Let rise in warm oven for 20-30 minutes until dough rises about 1" above the top of the pan. Do not remove bread from oven; turn oven to 350 F and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on racks. This recipe makes 2 loaves.

It's a good thing this makes two loaves.  One to eat fresh out of the oven with Raspberry Honey Butter or Cinnamon Honey Butter, and one to eat later.

 ~~ Enjoy!!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Blood Orange Cake

One of my loves is Trader Joes and another one is trying a new ingredient.  It's a good day when those two loves go together.  So my new ingredient find was:  BLOOD ORANGES!!

Interesting name but it gets it's name from it's red flesh and very red juice.  I'd always heard about Blood Oranges but hadn't ever had them or cooked with them.

I found this on Pinterest and thought it looked interesting.  You can find the original post here.  I opted to make mine into 4 mini loaves so I could give some away.  I've learned that if I don't give stuff to friends, family, or neighbors ... I eat too much!!

Blood Orange Loaf Cake

3/4 c. cake flour
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
4 lg. eggs, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. grated blood orange zest
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/4 c. sour cream (I used fat free)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed blood orange juice

1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed blood orange juice

Candied Orange Slices:
1 blood orange
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Heat oven to 350º. Spray the sides and bottoms of four small loaf pans. 
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, eggs, orange zest and orange juice. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the melted butter. Add the sour cream and vanilla and continue mixing until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture and use a rubber spatula to gently fold it in, taking care not to overmix.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes, rotate the pans, reduce oven temperature to 325º and continue baking an additional 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the syrup. Combine the orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved, then continue to cook about 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove the loaves from the pans and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the loaves. Brush with the orange syrup, allow to soak in and brush again. Allow the cakes to cool completely (at least 30 minutes). If you'd like to freeze a loaf, this is the time to do it.
When the loaves are cool, prepare the orange glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons orange juice. The glaze should be thick but pourable. Add more orange juice if needed to reach desired consistency. Pour glaze over the top of each loaf.
To make the candied orange slices, wash and dry the orange.  cut the orange in half lengthwise, then use a sharp knife to make very thin slices or orange.  Poke out any seeds in the slices with a toothpick.  Combine the sugar and water in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves.  Add the orange slices to the mixture so that they are in a single layer (none overlapping), reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer about 20 minutes, turning the slices at least once so both sides are candied.  Remove from the heat and lay out on a piece of parchment paper for a minute.  Place on loaves on top of the glaze.  Let the loaves sit for about 15 minutes, or until the glaze hardens, before serving. 

This was fun to make and to give away, as it's a very pretty presentation.  The flavor of a blood orange is like a regular orange but a little more bitter.  I can now say I've done a "Blood Orange"!! :)

~ Enjoy

Recipe Source: Annie's Eats